Teaching Tool Idea: Storytelling & Listening Skills for Kids— The National Day of Listening takes place each year in November on the day after Thanksgiving. This celebration, established by StoryCorps, was conceived as a non-commercial alternative to the widespread shopping events that take place each Black Friday. To participate, people record interviews with loved ones in an effort to preserve, share, and honor their stories.
Stories are accessible to everyone, and they can be used to educate, to entertain, and to inspire. Your students have already learned traditional stories in their history lessons and social studies classes—but have they learned about the culture of storytelling itself?
Teaching Tool: Why Storytelling and Listening Skills are Important for Students
Throughout history, storytelling has formed the identities of cultures around the world. People use stories to:
- understand the world and where they came from.
- communicate lessons and experiences to their children.
- preserve culture and recall important historical events.
- connect with others in their communities.
From the earliest creation stories to an anecdote of summer vacation shared with a friend, we all tell stories to share and make sense of our experiences. By listening to the stories that another person chooses to share, we can learn a great deal about his or her choices, motivations, and desires. Instead of simply learning the details from history’s stories and the tall tales passed down in literature classes, students need to understand why the stories themselves matter. During November, use the National Day of Listening to help students see the inherent value of stories and the importance of listening.
More than 40,000 people have participated in the National Day of Listening since the program began in 2003, and students can listen to many of these stories on the program’s website. StoryCorps believes that each person has a story to tell and that these stories deserve to be recorded and preserved for future generations. As humans, we have a natural desire to leave legacies behind us—and this oral history project gives everyone the opportunity to share their story with the world.
Related Resource: The Value of Storytelling: 33 Writing Prompts for Kids